Origami butterflies will be a fun project at Saturday’s Kids Arts Fest in Schenectady
Betsy Sandberg knows a great idea when she hears one, and Margie Amodeo’s idea of â€‹â€‹putting origami butterflies on bobby pins was clearly inspired.
Sandberg, director of the Kids Arts Fest in downtown Schenectady, first heard about the idea for this year’s event, she had an immediate reaction.
“Of course I love it,” said Sandberg, who was forced to postpone Kids Arts Fest 2021 from June to this Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. due to the COVID-19 pandemic. â€œAnd it made me think of the struggles caterpillars go through to become butterflies. Even though the theme of our 27th anniversary festival is â€œCommunityâ€, for me, it’s really about getting out of the struggle to become something better. “
Amodeo, coordinator of Union College’s Kelly Adirondack Center, found the monarch butterfly story to be perfect and fun for these trying times.
â€œI have about 1,000 bobby pins ready for this, and I thought the sight of kids pinning the origami butterflies onto their clothes and then running around covered with them would be a lot of fun,â€ Amodeo said. â€œA few years ago we made owl masks, and it was a bit popular. I think the monarchs would be a big hit as well, and that also encourages kids to do their part as active citizen scientists. “
Amodeo and a handful of Kelly Adirondack Center volunteers as well as a group of Union College students will have two tables set up on Jay Street outside City Hall to help children with their creations. They will also be an educational component.
â€œWe will talk about Journey North, a group that monitors the migration of monarchs, and we will encourage children to monitor this project as well and monitor the butterflies themselves,â€ Amodeo said. â€œThey can actually follow the migration of monarchs and think about what plants they can grow in their garden and how to carefully choose the herbicide they use. Monarchs are struggling right now, and we must remember that any native species, like milkweed, will help support them. “
Some monarch butterflies undergo 3,000 mile migrations.
â€œIt’s totally amazing how they weather the currents, and a lot of them are migrating both ways,â€ Amodeo said. â€œSome don’t. Milkweeds and other native plants are a lifeline for the monarchs who make this trip. We try to get the children to appreciate this and think about what they can do to have a positive effect.
Amodeo said the opportunity for Kelly Adirondack Center to be a part of Kids Arts Fest is something she always looks forward to.
â€œIt really is a special event for us,â€ she said. â€œGenerally we tend to serve the college community and our continuing education groups more, most of the time we deal with seniors. We are also currently closed to the public due to COVID, so this is a very big day for us. It is a great opportunity to raise awareness.
Butterflies won’t be the only fun activity for kids on Saturdays. Members of the Universal Preservation Hall Rock Camp will kick off the festivities with a noon show, and that’s just one of the musical offerings. Dueling Saxophones will have 50 recorders on hand to teach kids how to play, and Alex Torres & His Latin Orchestra Arts-in-Education Program will make its first appearance at Kids Arts Fest.
In addition to creating butterflies and tie-dye masks, kids will be able to make their own drums and make their own street art with help from Oscar Bogran. Other groups involved in the Kids Arts Fest include the Boys and Girls Clubs of Schenectady, the Electric City Barn, Electric City Puppets, the Hamilton Hill Arts Center, and the New York State Folklore Society.
Hatice Erbas-Sorkunlu, an Ebru artist from Turkey, will work with the New York State Folklore Society to teach children the Turkish art of cini, also known as â€œpaper marblingâ€.
The Kids Arts Fest has been held continuously since 1994, although last year’s event was virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Kids Arts Fest was created by the former mayor of Schenectady, Karen B. Johnson, with Janet Hutchison, Joan Gould and Eli I. Taub. Hutchison is the owner of the Open Door Bookstore, Gould was Director of the Scotia-Glenville Children’s Museum, and Taub was a local attorney and judge of the Schenectady County Family Court.
â€œThis year we have a great mix of old-time favorite arts activities and new ones that let our imaginations soar,â€ said Sandberg. â€œSeriously, I never thought we could make it past the 25th anniversary, but I think this one is going to be fabulous because of the activities being carried out by the Kelly Center and all the other groups that we have been involved with.â€
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Categories: Art, Life and Arts